Prize of being an Admin - Part 2

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The Lounge War Stories Prize of being an Admin - Part 2
# 1  
Old 04-14-2013
Prize of being an Admin - Part 2

I was reading this thread of admin_xor Prize of being an Admin and thought will share this experience of mine which is kind of opposite to what he did - I didn't tell anybody what happened Smilie

We were porting one of the subsystem from Solaris to Linux. As part of that we developed many wrapper scripts. So, there is this rsh wrapper script which is deployed in the system which internally uses ssh if security is enabled or uses native rsh instead (this native rsh is placed in a different path, so that it will not show up in the $PATH and the wrapper rsh script is placed in /usr/bin). For some testing purpose, I modified the ssh command inside the rsh wrapper script to "rsh" command and forgot to change it back. So, you know what happened next. If I do a rsh, it goes into a continuous loop calling the rsh wrapper script over and over again, this clogged the cpu in no time. I did this change in the Testing teams setup. And the worst part was I did it in 2 of their setup.

Next day I came to office and there is a big fuss all over the place. I didn't bother cause it was't assigned to me and I totally forgot that what I did was causing this. After couple of days, the issue was assigned to me and then "oops" I realized it. Now what? Of course I didn't tell them Smilie. Hearing about what happened to admin_xor for what he did, imagine what would've happened to me.

Later I told them that it was a "human" Smilie error and that there is no issue with the system. But then they asked how could it happen to 2 systems. I was like "it happened man, forget it" Smilie - no I didn't say that, I told them we'll monitor it. I assured them that it is human error and we will monitor the system and if it re-occurs we will investigate again and now its not worth spending time on this - obviously I know it - cause I am the culprit.


Last edited by ahamed101; 04-14-2013 at 01:25 PM..
# 2  
Old 04-14-2013
'Tis a brave person who admits his/her failings to the public...

# 3  
Old 04-14-2013
Would be even braver to admit it internally.

I guess your employer and colleagues will sooner or later be aware of this posting as you gave plenty of information to identify the case.

Not sure they'll appreciate, especially the ones who didn't found the root cause after a couple of days ...
# 4  
Old 05-01-2013
Oof, that must have been painful to own up to. Nicely done though!
# 5  
Old 05-12-2013
First observation: sh!t happens! That is a proven, reliable fact and an environment which can't cope with that is designed wrongly from the start. If you need a service to be not disrupted you shouldn't allow people to develop on it, because development will create the one or other hiccup to happen over time. Further, you need to take precautions against failure of every single part of the system if it should survive. Suppose instead of your error some hardware would have crashed, the network disrupted, whatever. This is what HA-solutions are for, for instance.

No SysAdmin in his right mind will let a manager determined to "save" on hardware off this hook: do you want to bet the projects future on me never doing an accidental typo? (As it is i have actually said exactly this in a design conference - and got my testing system.) And, by the way: when they decide about new office furniture for their offices any intention to save is usually abandoned immediately, so wtf?

Second aspect: whenever you do something it is your utmost responsibility to test what you have done. Immediately! So how can you create such a loop and not notice it? How can you implement this change even twice? This is not a question of introducing an error - that happens to all of us. It is a matter if noticing you have done something wrong and this has to do with the style of work: if i delete a file, i do an immediate "ls" to verify it (and it alone) is gone, if i do a "cd" i do a "pwd" to verify i am in the right directory, etc., etc.. This slows me down by perhaps 5%, but when i think i have something done i usually have it done - without any error. The 5% are easily recovered not having to do the error correction and/or recovery others eventually have to do.

So, i hope for your best, but you should really change your work ethics and learn from this accident. My 2 cents.

These 2 Users Gave Thanks to bakunin For This Post:
# 6  
Old 05-29-2013
I agree with everything Bakunin has said but, as a rule and as an IT pro, I never delete anything. If I'm going to edit a file, I copy it (usually with a different suffix) and if I'm going to delete a file, I rename (mv) it.

Then, when something stops working (and in IT anything that can go wrong usually does) and I need to know what the hell was in that file that I edited/deleted, I can find out.

Rule is to think hard before you edit or delete anything!!!
# 7  
Old 05-29-2013
A list of fatal commands that really happened
rm * .tmp      # A space too many
last | reboot  # grep missing
hostname -f    # on Solaris sets hostname to -f
ifconfig -a 1  # on Solaris sets all interfaces to

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